Why did I join Westwood Ensemble? 

After a long absence from performing and playing my violin I started picking it up again a couple of years ago to bring a little bit of joy to our Veterans at the Kansas City VA Medical Center and also a group of Care Centers that I volunteer with around Missouri and Kansas.

From these simple moments I remembered why I started playing, how much I love the violin and the peace that I feel when I play and more so, in watching people when they hear the music from an instrument or hear a song.  They go to a place that is full of beautiful memories, solace and oh the smiles that beam as they join-in or clap to a piece they know. 

I knew then I really wanted, no needed, to get back to playing and I started taking violin lessons again here at UMKC under the instruction of Ms. En-Ting Hsu.   After a few months she kept asking why I wasn’t playing and I kept telling her “I wasn’t ready”; “I’ve lost too many of my skills to perform”, etc. so many excuses and of course there is the time factor!

I work full time, I have a crazy busy schedule (like so many) but I have to tell you playing again has really helped me find some balance in my life and it has been fun to focus on something other than “work”, “life stress” and it has been an absolute blast to be “put in place” on one passage, one measure that I just can’t play the first, second or third time and have to really work at getting it “right”.  My dog and two cats would tell you otherwise, but what can I say!

So how did I get involved with Westwood Ensemble?  Ms. En-Ting Hsu.   I went to my lesson she said that WE was taking auditions for string instrumentalist.  She looked at me and said “life is too short to not do something you love.  We are making a video of your audition and I’m sending it in”.   So, here I am.  

It has been the best thing that has happened.   To be able to play again, to be part of an orchestra, to hear the tuning of the instruments, to find the rhythm of an orchestra where we are playing as one.  It is so amazing and so worth the hours of practicing and rehearsing.  There are no regrets and En-Ting is correct “life is too short to not do something you love.”

Jonathan Lane and the Westwood Ensemble members have been so welcoming!  The music has been challenging and fun to work on.   The rehearsals are a blast (at least for me) as we take a piece and turn it into something really special!  Then after all of the hard work we have the opportunity to perform in a concert and to make beautiful memories and let’s not forget the smiles as people take in the orchestral sounds of musicians performing!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of something so special.

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